Michael Sherard (1910–98)
French re-embroidered ribbon lace, with taffeta
Museum no. T.403-1974
Given by Mr John Fraser and Mr Michael Sherard
Cocktail dresses gained a new popularity after the Second World War. They were worn at early evening or ‘6 to 8’ gatherings. Since guests usually stood and mingled, the gowns could include complex bustles, appliqué and skirt details, which would be crushed if sat on.
In his book 'The Little Dictionary of Fashion' (1954) Christian Dior (1905-57) described cocktail dresses as ‘elaborate and dressy afternoon frocks’, preferably in black taffeta, satin, chiffon and wool. These confections became the personification of the ‘little black dress’ and were often accessorised with gloves and small, elaborate hats.
This dress was designed by Michael Sherard (1910–98) for his acclaimed 1958 spring collection.
The flamenco dress was a recurring theme in 1950s cocktail and evening wear. Sherard’s version has a bell-like skirt and train made entirely of lace, his trademark fabric.